The 88 Constellations

Listed below are the 88 constellations agreed upon in 1922 by the International Astronomical Union.

  #     Notes     Constellation     I.A.U.
  Possessive     Description  
  1     A     Andromeda     And     Andromedae     the Chained Maiden
  Mythological daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia
  Chained to a rock as a sacrifice to the sea monster Cetus 
  Rescued by Perseus  
  2     B     Antlia     Ant     Antliae     the air pump  
  3     D     Apus     Aps     Apodis     the bird of paradise  
  4     A     Aquarius     Aqr     Aquarii     the water-carrier / water-bearer  
  5     A     Aquila     Aql     Aquilae     the eagle  
  6     A     Ara     Ara     Arae     the altar  
  7     A     Aries     Ari     Arietis     the ram  
  8     A     Auriga     Aur     Aurigae     the charioteer  
  9     A     Boötes     Boo     Boötis     the herdsman / plowman  
  10     B     Caelum     Cae     Caeli     the chisel / engraving tool  
  11     C     Camelopardalis     Cam     Camelopardalis     the giraffe  
  12     A     Cancer     Cnc     Cancri     the crab  
  13     F     Canes Venatici     CVn     Canum Venaticorum     the hunting dogs  
  14     A     Canis Major     CMa     Canis Majoris     the greater dog  
  15     A     Canis Minor     CMi     Canis Minoris     the lesser dog  
  16     A     Capricornus     Cap     Capricorni     the horned goat / sea goat  
  17     B     Carina     Car     Carinae     the keel of a ship  
  18     A     Cassiopeia     Cas     Cassiopeiae     mythological queen - mother of Andromeda  
  19     A     Centaurus     Cen     Centauri     the centaur (mythological creature ½ man / ½ horse)  
  20     A     Cepheus     Cep     Cephei     mythological king - father of Andromeda  
  21     A     Cetus     Ceti     Ceti     mythological sea monster (now interpreted as a whale)  
  22     E     Chamaeleon     Cha     Chamaeleontis     the chameleon  
  23     B     Circinus     Cir     Circini     the drawing compass  
  24     C     Columba     Col     Columbae     the dove  
  25     G     Coma Berenices     Com     Comae Berenices     Berenice's hair (refers to Queen Berenice II of Egypt)  
  26     A     Corona Australis     CrA     Coronae Australis     the southern crown  
  27     A     Corona Borealis     CrB     Coronae Borealis     the northern crown  
  28     A     Corvus     Crv     Corvi     the crow  
  29     A     Crater     Crt     Crateris     the cup  
  30         Crux     Cru     Crucis     the southern cross  
  31     A     Cygnus     Cyg     Cygni     the swan  
  32     A     Delphinus     Del     Delphini     the dolphin  
  33     E     Dorado     Dor     Doradus     the swordfidh / dolphin-fish  
  34     A     Draco     Dra     Draconis     the dragon  
  35     A     Equuleus     Equ     Equulei     the Little Horse / pony  
  36     A     Eridanus     Eri     Eridani     the river  
  37     B     Fornax     For     Fornacis     the furnace  
  38     A     Gemini     Gem     Geminorum     the twins  
  39     E     Grus     Gru     Gruis     the crane  
  40     A     Hercules     Her     Herculis     mythological hero  
  41     B     Horologium     Hor     Horologii     the clock with pendulum  
  42     A     Hydra     Hya     Hydrae     mythological multi-headed female water snake  
  43     E     Hydrus     Hyi     Hydri     mythological male water snake  
  44     E     Indus     Ind     Indi     American Indian (Native American)  
  45     F     Lacerta     Lac     Lacertae     the lizard  
  46     A     Leo     Leo     Leonis     the lion  
  47     F     Leo Minor     LMi     Leonis Minoris     the lesser lion  
  48     A     Lepus     Lep     Leporis     the hare  
  49     A     Libra     Lib     Librae     the scales / balance  
  50     A     Lupus     Lup     Lupi     the wolf  
  51     F     Lynx     Lyn     Lyncis     the lynx  
  52     A     Lyra     Lyr     Lyrae     the lyre / harp  
  53     B     Mensa     Men     Mensae     table mountain  
  54     B     Microscopium     Mic     Microscopii     the microscope  
  55     C     Monoceros     Mon     Monocerotis     the unicorn  
  56     B E     Musca     Mus     Muscae     the fly  
  57     B     Norma     Nor     Normae     the carpenter's square / carpenter's level  
  58     B     Octans     Oct     Octantis     the octant  
  59     A     Ophiuchus     Oph     Ophiuchi     the serpent-bearer  
  60     A     Orion     Ori     Orionis     mythological hunter  
  61     E     Pavo     Pav     Pavonis     the peacock  
  62     A     Pegasus     Peg     Pegasi     mythological winged horse  
  63     A     Perseus     Per     Persei     mythological hero  
  64     E     Phoenix     Phe     Phoenicis     mythological bird that is reborn from the ashes  
  65     B     Pictor     Pic     Pictoris     painter's easel  
  66     A     Pisces     Psc     Piscium     the fishes  
  67     A     Piscis Austrinus     PsA     Piscis Austrini     the southern fish  
  68     B     Puppis     Pup     Puppis     the stern / poop deck  
  69     B     Pyxis     Pyx     Pyxidis     the navigational compass  
  70     B     Reticulum     Ret     Reticuli     the reticle / eyepiece  
  71     A     Sagitta     Sge     Sagittae     the arrow  
  72     A     Sagittarius     Sgr     Sagittarii     the archer  
  73     A     Scorpius     Sco     Scorpii     the scorpion  
  74     B     Sculptor     Scl     Sculptoris     the sculptor  
  75     F     Scutum     Sct     Scuti     the shield  
  76     A     Serpens     Ser     Serpentis     the serpent / snake  
  77     F     Sextans     Sex     Sextantis     the sextant  
  78     A     Taurus     Tau     Tauri     the bull  
  79     B     Telescopium     Tel     Telescopii     the telescope  
  80     A     Triangulum     Tri     Trianguli     the triangle  
  81     E     Triangulum Australe     TrA     Trianguli Australis     the southern triangle  
  82     E     Tucana     Tuc     Tucanae     the toucan  
  83     A     Ursa Major     UMa     Ursae Majoris     the great bear  
  84     A     Ursa Minor     UMi     Ursae Minoris     the lesser bear  
  85     B     Vela     Vel     Velorum     the sails  
  86     A     Virgo     Vir     Virginis     the maiden / virgin  
  87     E     Volans     Vol     Volantis     the flying fish  
  88     F     Vulpecula     Vul     Vulpeculae     the fox  

A   The Greek mathematician and astronomer Claudius Ptolemy (100 - 170) wrote a comprehensive work on astronomy entitled the Almagest. In this work he listed 48 constellations, 47 of which are still used today.
Ptolemy's 48th constellation (not listed) was called Argo Navis representing the ship "Argo" from the Greek myth "Jason and the Argonauts".

B   The constellation Argo was so large that in 1752, the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille (1713 - 1762) split it into 3 constellations - Carina, Puppis and Vela.
In addition, he named 14 constellations Antlia, Caelum, Circinus, Fornax, Horologium, Mensa, Microscopium, Norma, Octans, Pictor, Pyxis, Reticulum, Sculptor, Telescopium and renamed a fifteenth, Musca.

C   Flemish astronomer Petrus Plancius (1552 - 1622) created 3 constellations - Camelopardalis, Columba and Monoceros.

D   Dutch navigator Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser (1540 - 1596) and Dutch explorer Frederick de Houtman (1571 - 1627) introduced the constellation Apus.

E   Plancius, Keyser and Houtman (see C & D above) created 11 constellations - Chamaeleon, Dorado, Grus, Hydrus, Indus, Musca, Pavo, Phoenix, Triangulum Australe, Tucana and Volans.

F   Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius (1611 - 1687) created 7 constellations - Canes Venatici, Lacerta, Leo Minor, Lynx, Scutum, Sextant and Vulpecula.

G   German cartographer Caspar Vopel (1511 - 1561) created the constellation Coma Berenices.

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